Tag Archives: hops

Homegrown Hops

First off, it’s been a while since I’ve updated, breaking the golden rule of having a blog. Well, this is more for me than anyone else, so I’ll live.
It’s been summer ‘visit’ season, and I’ve either been visiting someone somewhere on my days off, or we’ve had a house full of guests & family.  It’s been a nice summer.

My struggling first year Centennial hop vine has finally produced a few hops.  The picture to the left you can see a few hops I harvested today.  This is from a rhizome I planted late spring in a large pot.  You can see the information on how I did that here.   I should have in total about 3 times this amount in the next two weeks.  Not enough to brew a batch of home brew, but something I can dry hop with or something.
I’ll likely brew up a pale ale and dry hop with these centennials.

Some things I’ve learned this year and will improve upon next year.  Well, mainly just one main thing.

I will place my pot and entire hop plant in full sunlight.  
We get such a limited amount of sun in Portland, that the hop plants need every minute of direct light they can get.  This is not the Yakima Valley (where I grew up) and we only get a good couple of months of sun here in PDX.

I also plan to propagate this Centennial using a method you can see here by ‘weirdbeer’ on youtube.


Hop Starts


After approximately four weeks from planting my centennial rhizome in my large pot, I am finally seeing some activity.  I will say, my location has not been too warm until recently, at least not steadily.  We had a 90F day yesterday after having several mid 80’s days’, but the hottest days are done for now.  Back to low 80’s and 70’s tomorrow.
But, I will relax a little now, knowing that the rhizome was not just a dead stick that I put into the soil.
I had read many online instructions for planting hop rhizomes and they ranged on planting depth from 1″ to 6″ deep.  I ended up with mine being planted around 5″ deep.  After my wife had 60-90 bulbs taken by the little wretched creatures known as squirrels, this year, I wanted to keep this rhizome on the deep end.  I doubt very much squirrels would want to dig up a root for a hop plant, but you never know!
The picture above isn’t too impressive, I’ve already seen pictures of hop cones in Arkansas from this year, but for me just getting this late start, in cool wet Portland, I’m pretty happy.
Next planned beer (I already have the ingredients) Belgian Wit



Hops In Pots

I’ve taken some initiative finally and have decided to grow a hop plant.  One hop plant this year just for a test, and to gauge results.  Yep, just one.
I am currently renting a house in a decent part of town and plan to move into my own house (our own house since I’ll include my wife with this move) in the next 3 to 4 years.  With that in mind, I didn’t want to plant the hops permanently, nor did I want to have 20 feet of hops growing somewhere where my land lord, who lives next door, would have a concern about.


My plan was to copy what Chris Colby, editor of BYO, had done at his house in Bastrop, TX.  He wrote an article covering the container trellis method in BYO, as well as had an interview with James Spencer on Basic Brewing Video about this method.
The basic idea is to get a 8′ tall 2″x2″ and place it inside the large container.  Place a eyelet on the top of the 2″x2″ and run some twine through it.  As the hop grows up the twine and reaches near the top, let out slack on the twine so that the hop plant drops down slightly, giving it again more room to grow ‘up’ the twine towards the top of the 2″x2″.

If all goes well, by the end of the growing season, I should have 15-20 feet of hop plant (probably less the first year) on a twine, of which a good portion is coiled around the container, but off the ground.  I can then easily harvest the cones when they are ready.


You can see here to the left my finished container hop trellis.  I failed to take any decent close up pictures, but there isn’t much to take a picture of yet.  I’ll update the method as the growing season goes by.

It’s been about two weeks since I planted the rhizome (pictured above) and I haven’t seen any growth yet.  We’ve had mostly cool wet days since planting, up until three days ago.  Now we’ve had some upper 70F days and I’m hoping for a shoot or two to appear in the next week.

So, for this project I just purchased a $5 rhizome from my local homebrew store, Centennial, I purchased two bags of potting soil, mixed in some of my own sandy soil with it, and placed all of that in a large black plastic pot.  I placed that inside a 1/2 whiskey barrel since it was sitting around unused.  I place my 2″x2″ in the pot, filled it up with soil, and placed my rhizome in it about 4″ deep.  I’ve watered just a couple of times since we’ve had cool wet weather until just recently.

Check out the Chris Colby article, he has a picture of some of his container hops growing up the twine, as well as a good video representation of this on James Spencer’s Basic Brewing Video.